Don’t be surprised if you start noticing more ATV traffic traveling through Sackville’s highway commercial area.
As of July 13, ATVers can now legally drive along Wright Street and Mallard Drive, providing them access to the various amenities in the area - including restaurants, gas stations, hotel, grocery store and tourist bureau. The town’s Visitor Information Centre parking lot at the end of Mallard Drive is also available for use as a parking/unloading area for ATVs and side-by-sides.
Paul Branscombe, president of the Tantramar ATV club and treasurer of the NB ATV Federation, said it’s been a two-year process but the final stamp of approval was recently granted by provincial and municipal officials.
“The club is excited we were able to do that,” said Branscombe of the process finally getting approval.
He said allowing ATVers to travel those roadways legally, where they will be required to follow the proper rules of the road, will help increase safety for everyone. He said many riders were already accessing those streets and amenities “in a way that wasn’t controlled.” So ensuring they must travel a specific route and cross at the traffic lights with regular traffic will help regulate that flow.
“We definitely needed this for that safety aspect. The whole goal was to make it safer.”
The Tantramar ATV club held an information session earlier this month to give their members an idea of what to expect once they were granted access and the route they would travel. Signs were installed last week along the approved route, directing ATVers as to the proper route.
ATVs and side-by-sides are allowed to travel along a section of Wright Street, from the existing trail to the McDonald’s Restaurant driveway, cross Main Street at the traffic light and then on to Mallard Drive to the parking lot at the visitor information centre.
Both town staff and the RCMP will be monitoring the traffic flow in that area on an ongoing basis and council has the ability to revoke the bylaw if they find the rules aren’t being properly followed.
Sackville is not the only community in New Brunswick to allow such use on its roadways; the province has granted approval for access to a handful of municipalities – including Kedgwick, Tide Head, Plaster Rock, Shippagan, Hillsborough, and Bathurst, among others.
Branscombe said this move is certainly a step in the right direction to be able to market Sackville as a destination. He said ATVers regularly travel here from throughout New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, PEI and even Quebec and he believes there could be an economic spinoff for businesses in the area and the community as a whole.
“That’s what we’re trying to do is to promote it as a tourism product,” he said.